Legendary NFL innovator and former head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals Sam Wyche has gone out on a limb and compared Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton to New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees.
Wyche, the creator of the no-huddle as a base offense and the man largely responsible for Cincinnati’s epic run in 1988, is still interested in coaching in the NFL.
Paul Daughtery of the Cincinnati Enquirer thought it wise to give Wyche a call when the Bengals lost Jay Gruden to the Washington Redskins. Wyche revealed he still has an interest in coaching and would like to be back in Cincinnati, but admits the perception of him around the league helps to prevent that:
“I’m out of the inner circle, I’m afraid,” said Wyche, 69. “People think I’m a sick old man, waiting for the buffet line to open up. I’m fixin’ to chop some wood in a moment.”
Things get even more interesting when the subject of Dalton comes up. Wyche likes what he sees in the TCU product and offers some lofty praise:
Andy Dalton is a Drew Brees kind of quarterback,” Wyche said “He has the two qualities every quarterback has to have. He’s accurate when he has time, and he’s smart.”
Wyche has noted Dalton’s shortcomings, too. “I would make clutch situations ordinary for him. Those types of situations, we’d practice over and over, until they were routine.’’
There is no question Wyche would bring out the best in Dalton. He is a legend and helped to craft what is today’s modern NFL offense that the likes of Brees and Peyton Manning have expanded upon to great success.
But one has to wonder if Wyche would fit in Cincinnati, especially with a first-year offensive coordinator in Hue Jackson taking things over. The last thing the Bengals need is confusion as to who is in charge on the offensive side of things. Wyche as a consultant makes loads of sense, especially with Dalton in the final year of his rookie contract, but it seems more like a dream scenario than anything at this point.
As for the Dalton-Brees comparison — scoff away — but do not doubt the mind of Wyche. The world is down on Dalton at the moment, but to argue with Wyche makes zero sense. Dalton is a smart quarterback when given time, although he has a propensity to make mistakes and throw passes that should never leave his hand. No one is saying Dalton will ever post consistently eye-popping numbers as Brees does, but the framework is certainly there.
Wyche back in Cincinnati is surely a pipe dream, but fans should be encouraged by his comments about Dalton. Wyche is essentially suggesting Dalton just needs the proper coaching. With any luck, Hue Jackson is the right fit.